Many times in 2020 I had hoped that I was living in some piece of dystopian fiction gone wrong. As the year progressed and we lost more and more people to Covid-19, the end of 2020 didn’t seem like it would arrive. We all saw the memes touting “[insert month] has been one long year.” Between the pandemic, distance learning/teaching, and the political stage becoming more and more unsettling, the end of 2020 could not come any sooner. For me, November brought on conflicting emotions. Election week was filled with anxiety, tears and sleeplessness nights. The impending doom of four more years was not something I wanted to believe in. Watching the results, I broke down. The roles reversed, and my 12-year-old son held me in his arms and told me things were going to be OK. I wanted to believe him, but 75 million votes again Biden and hope was a tough number to push away. By the end of November, I was still unsure of how the story was going to end, but I was proud to hear my sons and daughter respond to each other with “I’m speaking” when they argued. The year 2020 taught me many valuable lessons. One, that I could still teach like a boss even in my pajama bottoms, and two, that mute buttons are awesome. Most important, 2020 reinforced that our work is not even close to being complete. As I tell my kids, we must not become complacent. We must continue to show up, speak up, be heard and thrive in our joys. This is truly a movement not a moment. We must continue to stand up against police brutality, fight for land rights, show up for all Black people, thank Black women for saving this country yet again, dismantle the patriarchy and keep uncovering the ways systemic racism prevails in this nation. The struggle and fight continues, but let us also take a break when we need it and lean on each other, for we cannot fight if we are burned out. This issue was personal for me as a mother, educator and writer. Last year was heavy, and on top of that, we couldn’t even offer one another comfort with a hug. 2021 is only one month old, and we are still apart and melancholy.
As I was recently reminded, “the mascot might have left but the team is still playing.” This issue would not be possible if it weren’t for the stellar contributions of Danielle Broadway, Iris De Anda, F. Douglas Brown, Shonda Buchanan, Cassandra Lane, Belinda Lei, Noriko Nakada, Mirabel Raphael, Quentin Ring, Luis J. Rodriguez, Deanne Stillman, Darin Strauss, Aruni Wijesinghe, Rachel Zients Schinderman and Beyond Baroque. Thank you. To our readers, enjoy, stay safe, read, write and resist.–Luivette Resto, Executive Editor, Angels Flight • literary west